Cathal Tohill and Pete Tombs:
Immoral Tales - European sex and horror movies 1956 - 1984 (1995, ISBN 0-312-13519-X)
European horror movie dealt with extreme themes in 1960' and 70's by combining eroticism into its dark expressions, in a way that more conservative countries followed with a confusion - and enthusiasm. That particular era ended when hardcore porno movies (like Deep Throat and Devil in Miss Jones) entered into movie business. Immoral Tales tells mainly about 60 - 70's most important euro-sleaze / horror films.
Despite the extended title "European sex and horror movies 1956 - 1984", this book does focus in its first pages on 17th century horror and erotic literature and european cinema starting at 1900's. This section of the book is interesting reminder how the european movies were much audacious already, than in U.S.
Immoral Tales has comprehensive surveys of Italian, German, French and Spanish genre movie. No, there are not any artistic crap involved but blood, breasts and masked killers. Even though you could add some of these films into the questionable, snobbish art film genre - there is no useless philosophic pondering involved in them. And if there are, it must be just an excuse for a next sex scene.
The book focuses on directors like Jes(u)s Franco, Jean Rollin, Josè Larraz, Walerian Borowczyk, Josè Bènazèraf and Alain Robbe-Grillet. Franco and Rollin get the writers attention for almost 60 pages, for each one. When you look at their filmography, it is now wonder. Writers have left the short biographies of Mario Bava, Sergio Corbucci, Tinto Brass and Lucio Fulci willingly in the end.
In more than 270 pages, there is a respectable amount of comprehensive articles and information of sleazy movies. Although personally I haven't seen even half of them, Tombs and Tohill politely warn about those movies that the reader shouldn't watch in first place. There are also many longer and in-depth reviews of some remarkable films like Spermula, Die Nackte und der Satan (aka The Head) and Island of Death (aka Island of the Damned). And what is really important, in the book there are featured many mind-blowing images from the movies and the posters.
Mondo Macabro - Weird & Wonderful Cinema Around the World (1997, ISBN 1-85286-856-1)
The book Immoral Tales had a natural "sequel" in a form of book "Mondo Macabro" by Pete Tombs. Unbelievable trash, sleaze, exploitation and horror has found a new home from Asia. But besides China, Hong Kong and Japan there is some really obscure things happening in Turkey, Indonesia, Philippines and India. Like that wouldn't be enough, Tombs pays attention also to Mexico, Brazil and Argentina.
Mondo Macabro is a must for every self-respecting cult movie fanatic. Even though the most astonishing CAT III -times of Hong Kong are history, for a European like me its fascinating to follow other cultures by their genre movies.
Hong Kong gets a special treatment in the beginning with three parts called: "Crazy Kung Fu!", "China Blue" and "Ghosts Galore". First one focuses on kung fu genre, where you can read about for example the subgenre of leexploitation, Enter the Seven Virgins(!) and Crippled Masters(!!). The next section tells about eroticism in Hong Kong cinema, all the way from Shaw Brothers' classics to CAT III favorites like Sex & Zen and Naked Killer. Last section of HK-cinema deals with ghost/vampire flicks (Black Magic, Mr. Vampire, Chinese Ghost Story etc.) and the most infamous CAT III efforts (Dr. Lamb, Horrible High Heels and Red To Kill).
Philippines and Indonesia are not among those countries, that you could name as a origins of classics of genre cinema. Despite that, Eddie Romero (the most productive Philippine movie maker) put out many semi-legendary exploitation flicks like Jack Hill's The Big Doll House. This section tells also about other two exploitation movie makers like Gerardo de Leon and Cirio H. Santiago (who has been the president of the Film Development Foundation of the Philippines).
One of the most parts of the book focuses on Indonesian horror/sleaze films like Escape from Hell Hole, Primitiv, Mystics in Bali and Lady Terminator. There is also one page dedicated to Barry Prima and his Warrior-films.
Bollywood-movies of India is in two parts. The first one sheds some light on history of Indian nation as movie fanatics, the spontaneous musical scenes of Bollywood-movies and abstinent eroticism. In the latter part, we can read about Ramsay brothers' horror classics. For what comes to Turkey, we are introduced to Star Trek and Star Wars - imitation/rip off -films (Dünyayi Kurtaran Adam, Süper Adam and Kilink, just a few to mention). These 14 pages must be read many times, but it still leaves you to wonder what the hell is happening here.
From South America, there is naturally a comprehensive look at Brazil's Coffin Joe, José Mojica Marins. Interesting titles from Argentina like Psexoanálisis and La Bestia Desnuda get attention also here. Wrestling hero from Mexico, Santo is also naturally here but also the surrealistic horror movies like astonishing Brainiac and numerous dracula adaptations. Modern horror movies like Guillermo Del Toro's Cronos is reviewed here too.
Last but not least, there is Japan left for treatment in three sections. Tombs finds the answers for role of sex and death in Japanese cinema from the nations history and culture. In the second part "Thinking Pink" we can see first the picture of almost naked woman chained by tentacles (read: vacuum cleaner hoses). And after that, the reader gets a dose of 70's pinku eiga along with modern "classics" like Rapeman and my big time favorite Keko Mask. Ghosts are involved heavily in the last part, but in the very end the extremities bursts in our face in a form of Tokyo Fist, Exorsister and Organ - to name only a few.
The accurate facts and very readable style of writing will guarantee fun moments for many years, with both books. There is many extraordinary films worthwhile to find, and these books recommend many of the most important.